Between January 2012 and May 2015 the Nigeria spent US Dollar 2.41 billion on importation of Rice
The CBN Governor said the apex bank has no plans to reverse the ban, adding that the reason for inclusion of rice in the exclusion list was not far-fetched.
He said that the “bank’s decision to ban foreign exchange for importation of rice items would not be reversed”
He said, “Figures available with the CBN show that from the period January 2012 to May 2015, the country had spent over 2.41bn dollars on importation of this commodity.
“Unfortunately, this trend has resulted in huge unsold stock of paddy rice cultivated by our farmers and low operating capacities of many integrated rice mills in Nigeria.”
Bank in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, would come up with a comprehensive financing model to support rice millers and other investors in the sector.
CBN has decided to intervene in the sector through funding and other packages because the country would not achieve its true potentials if it imported everything it could produce locally.
He said, “the bank will make funds more accessible to farmers through some of its funding programme such as the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development fund.
“The funds will be made available to rice farmers through the Microfinance Banks at an interest rate of nine per cent and any bank that charges interest above that rate should be reported to the CBN
CBN said that “those that defaulted in the payment of customs duty after bringing in excess quotas of rice into the country at concessionary rates would be penalised”
He said the CBN would take up the issue to the highest level in government to ensure that the money was paid.
“By exceeding their import quota, these importers have flooded the market with rice that is sold below what is produced locally thus, making consumers ignore the locally produced ones.
“We are going to enforce it and we will go to the highest level to enforce this to ensure that they pay and I appeal to them to go and pay,’’ he added.
The governor assured rice producers that the bank would work closely with the Nigerian Customs Service to address the issue of smuggling.
The 10 major paddy rice producing states, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Taraba, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Niger. The states had enough capacity to produce rice that would help the country attain self sufficiency as well as for export purpose.